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Seven Dead in Iloilo Boat Tragedy

Contrary to the early claims of the Palace that government preparations resulted to zero casualties, a tragedy in Western Visayas claimed the lives of six children and an elderly woman.

Seven has been confirmed dead after a pumpboat carrying 15 passengers capsized off Concepcion town in Iloilo Saturday afternoon at the height of tropical storm ‘Gorio.’

The death toll totaled seven when the body of the remaining missing passenger, Aurea Rico, 72, was found in Gigantes Island around 5 p.m. today, according to a report on GMA News TV’s State of the Nation.

The victims are among the 15 members of the Rico and Cañete families who were on their way home to Salvacion town from a fiesta when tragedy struck.

According to boat owner Marlon Palican, 38, they were sailing smoothly amid light rain when a huge wave suddenly hit the boat, throwing the vessel out of balance.  Palican said that all of them managed to hold on to the boat but had to endure almost 24 hours in the water.

The first six fatalities identified were Baby Boy Cañete, 1 month; Justine Rico, 4; Redan Rico, 2; Jenina Cañete, 8; Paolo Cañete, 9; and Richelle Rico, 6.

Eight passengers survived the mishap.

Authorities said the boat was overloaded and sailed despite bad weather. The passengers, however, claimed they were not aware that their area was under Storm Signal No.1 due to tropical storm ‘Gorio’ during that time. It seems that storm warnings are not reaching all seafarers in the provinces.